Last month, WW spent a weekend at the Collectors West Gun and Knife Show, and reported that sales of AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles skyrocketed in the wake of mass shootings in Oregon and Connecticut.
“This is the busiest year in show history, from what I’ve heard from other sellers,” said one gun dealer in cavernous Hall D of the Portland Expo Center.
Officials at Metro, which operates the Expo Center, are now questioning whether the regional government should be hosting gun shows at any time.
Metro reporter Nick Christensen first broke the story that members of the Metro Council debated Tuesday whether it should continue its contract with Collectors West, which hosts shows at the Expo Center about every other month.
Metro Council President Tom Hughes said Metro was the perfect host—because it can keep tabs on whether laws are being followed. Reports Christensen:
"I don't know that you're going to stop gun shows. They'll probably move to the Clark County Fairgrounds or other places where the facility is not equipped adequately to deal with the kind of technology we can provide at our facility," Hughes said. "This is a much deeper and broader problem endemic in society that we're not going to solve – and we might in fact make worse by not offering this safe and sane alternative."
Newly elected Metro Councilor Bob Stacey tells WW that he and fellow councilor Sam Chase are troubled by the shows.
"I have heard from constituents, 'What can Metro do about the gun show?'" Stacy says. "Sam and I both raised the question about gun shows at Expo and why are we doing that in light of what’s happening in the culture and the country."
But Stacey says he will wait on any action until the council is briefed by Metro staff.
"We are concerned," Stacey says. "But I thought Tom’s answer was a very thoughtful argument about it."